Sacramento State University senior Anthony Rifenburg has been named Sports Director for the campus radio station, KSSU.
The Yreka High School graduate has been broadcasting Sac State Hornets baseball games the past three years. In his new role, Rifenburg says that he’ll have to opportunity to broadcast home football and basketball games, as well as continue to do baseball games both at home and on the road. Although Rifenburg has the option to do softball games, he said that since it would often conflict with baseball, he will hire someone else on campus to cover Hornet softball.
During his Sac State broadcasting career, Rifenburg has had the opportunity to draw inspiration from and meet broadcasters Jon Miller, Dave Fleming and Joe Castellano. He says that the three of them have been a tremendous help, especially Castellano.
“Joe has listened to a few of my games over the past season, and gave me a lot of pointers and advice that has really made my calls much better from one week to the next.”
“From a far,” Rifenburg says that he is inspired by Dodger broadcaster Joe Davis.
“He is only in his mid 20s and already in the big leagues. He was basically on the same track as I am in terms of how I am trying to make my way. He did high school, college and worked on his campus radio station, calling all the sports. Then he got a job with a minor league team, and after few years went onto Fox Sports for one year before the Dodgers hired him.
It’s sort of the same path I was planning to take. Granted, one thing I have learned from talking to people is that everyone makes their own path. It’s not like becoming a doctor where you go to medical school then become an intern then get residency then become a surgeon.
In broadcasting everyone is different on their path. But to see someone who has done it from basically the same way I am trying and succeed, it gives me confidence and inspiration that if I continue to work hard and get my foot in the door with the right people and continue to try and get better that hopefully I can make it someday too.”
While Rifenburg is now hanging out with some broadcasting heavy weights, his start was a bit troubling.
“Yreka baseball coach and counselor Jason Freitas called me into his office one day freshman year, and I thought I was in trouble rather than what it turned out to be. He asked me to do it (broadcast Miners baseball) and I said ‘sure.’ How often does a freshman get pulled out of class to see the junior/senior counselor? Naturally, I thought I was in trouble.”
The meeting with Freitas did more than just start a broadcasting career. Rifenburg said it gave him the opportunity to be a part of the game he loves—something his asthma and injuries prevented him from doing on the field.
Among his broadcasting highlights, Rifenburg includes the 2017 WAC tournament, particularly the championship game played in Mesa, Arizona at Hohokam Stadium–the spring training ballpark of the Oakland Athletics.
“It was a great. We played the best I’ve seen in a long time, and everything fell into place to win the WAC title. The feeling at the end to call a title win was really neat.”
Other highlights include calling three hornet’s games at Raley Field (Rivercats’ home), and having some opportunities to see how the big dogs go about their job at AT&T Park.
“Being able to sit in on a major league broadcast at AT&T Park in the radio booth with Jon Miller and Dave Flemming a few times has been a tremendous experience I will never forget. Those two actually remember me every time we get passes to go into the booth and press area, and they have given me advice and pointers and have helped me a lot.”
Even with all the opportunities to learn broadcasting from the pros, Rifenburg says that his family is a huge part of his success thus far.
“My mom and grandparents offer inspiration through example just by the way they treat others and have worked their tails off to give me opportunities to achieve what I shoot for. There’s that saying that, ‘You can pick your nose as easily as you can pick your friends, but you can’t pick your family.’ If I had to pick though, I wouldn’t have picked anybody else than them. I hope someday to be half the man that my grandpa is, and as genuine to others as both my mom and grandma are.”
You can catch live streams of Rifenburg’s broadcasts during the 2017-18 sports season on the radio station’s website at http://kssu.com/sports.htmlShare on Facebook